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Aløft

There's nothing new about Nordic interiors - blond timbers, concrete surfaces, warm, mid-century charm without the twee - and thank heavens for that. It's a style that augments the beauty of everything around it, in this case, gorgeous Hobart harbour, which makes up one whole wall. What is new here, however, is the food - by veterans of Garagistes, which once dazzled diners down the road, Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Gordon Ramsay worldwide. There's a strong Asian bent, but with Tasmanian ingredients. In fact, the kitchen's love of the local verges on obsessive - coconut milk in an aromatic fish curry is replaced with Tasmanian-grown fig leaf simmered in cream to mimic the flavour. Other standouts include a gutsy red-braised lamb with gai lan and chewy cassia spaetzle, pigs' ears zingy with Sichuan pepper and a fresh, springy berry dessert. While the food is sourced locally, the generous wine list spans the planet. 

Secret Tuscany

A far cry from Tuscany’s familiar gently rolling hills, Monte Argentario’s appealing mix of mountain, ocean, island and lagoon makes it one of Italy’s hidden treasures, writes Emiko Davies.

Farro recipes

Farro can be used in almost any dish, from a robust salad to accompany hearty beer-glazed beef short ribs to a new take on risotto with mushrooms, leek and parmesan. Here are 14 ways with this versatile grain.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

Moon Park to open Paper Bird in Potts Point

No, it’s not a pop-up. The team behind Sydney’s Moon Park is back with an all-day east-Asian eatery.

Brae

Prepare to enter a picture of the countryside framed by note-perfect Australiana but painted in bold, elegant and unsentimental strokes. Over 10 or more courses, Dan Hunter celebrates his region with dishes that are formally daring (Crunchy prawn heads! Creamy oyster soft-serve! Sea urchin and chicory bread pudding!), yet rich in flavour and substance. The menu could benefit from an edit, but the plates are tightly composed - and what could you cut? Certainly not the limpid broth bathing fronds of abalone and calamari, nor the clever arrangement of lobster played off against charred waxy fingerlings under a swatch of milk skin. The adventure is significantly the richer for the cool gloss of the dining room, some of the most engaging service in the nation and wine pairings that roam with an easy-going confidence. Maturing and relaxing without surrendering a drop of its ambition, Brae is more compelling than ever.

Grilled apricot salad with jamon and Manchego

Here we've scorched apricots on the grill and served them with torn jamon, shaved Manchego and peppery rocket leaves. Think of it as a twist on the good old melon-prosciutto routine. The mixture would also be great served on charred sourdough.

Discovering Macedonia

Like its oft-disputed name, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia defies simple definition but its rich diversity extends from the dinner table to the welcoming locals, writes Richard Cooke.

Apple and almond tart


You'll need

150 ml each of crème fraîche, mascarpone and thickened cream Finely grated rind and juice of ½ lemon To serve: toasted flaked almonds   Frangipane 150 gm softened butter 150 gm pure icing sugar, sieved eggs, beaten 75 gm each very finely ground blanched almonds and almond meal 1 tsp brandy   Pastry 220 gm plain flour 150 gm butter, chilled, coarsely chopped Seeds from 1 vanilla bean 1 egg, beaten   Apples in Sauternes 100 gm pure icing sugar, sieved 4 apples, such as gala, pink lady or Jonathan, peeled, cored, each cut into 8 wedges 120 ml Sauternes or another sticky white dessert wine

Method

  • 01
  • For frangipane, beat butter and icing sugar in an electric mixer until pale and combined, beat in eggs, then stir through almonds and brandy. Refrigerate until firm (1 hour).
  • 02
  • For pastry, process flour, butter and vanilla seeds in a food processor until combined, then add egg and process until mixture comes together. Form into a disc, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (1 hour).
  • 03
  • Roll pastry to a 28cm round between 2 sheets of baking paper and refrigerate until firm. Remove paper, transfer pastry to a lightly floured surface, dust with flour and roll to a 32cm round (if pastry gets too soft, refrigerate again until firm). Line a 25cm-diameter straight-sided buttered and floured tart tin with pastry, spoon frangipane into tart and smooth with the back of a wet spoon, then trim pastry to just above frangipane and refrigerate to rest (30 minutes).
  • 04
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Bake tart until pastry is golden and frangipane is golden and set (30-40 minutes; you may need to cover the centre of pastry with foil if browning too much). Turn off oven and leave in oven for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (1 hour). Turn out onto a serving plate.
  • 05
  • For apples in Sauternes, heat a large frying pan over high heat, add icing sugar, then arrange apples on top and cook until turning caramel in colour (3-4 minutes), then toss occasionally until caramelised all over (3-5 minutes). Add Sauternes and turn apples occasionally until a thin sauce forms (2-3 minutes).
  • 06
  • Whisk crème fraîche, mascarpone, cream, lemon rind and juice in a bowl until soft peaks form.
  • 07
  • Serve tart topped with apples in Sauternes and scattered with toasted almonds, with crème fraîche mixture to the side.
This recipe is from the May 2013 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

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